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August 22 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 13-15
“If the prophet be deceived, …I the Lord have deceived that prophet.”
What a solemn word this is from our God! Spirit of God, teach us this day what is here revealed and seal your Word to our souls for our everlasting consolation and safety in Christ. When men and women heap to themselves teachers having itching ears, and turn away from the truth and are turned unto fables, the Lord God sends them strong delusions to believe a lie, and gives them over to a reprobate mind in judgment (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). — “The deceived and the deceiver are his” (Job 12:16).
Throughout the Word of God we are warned to beware of false prophets. Here the Lord God tells us plainly that they are lying prophets who “prophesy out of their own hearts…prophets that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing.” In every age God’s church has had to endure such men. They seduce the souls of men, saying, “Peace; and there was no peace” (Ezekiel 13:10). They make “pillows to all armholes,” promising salvation and security to sinners by their own works. By their false doctrine, subverting the Gospel of God, they “hunt souls,” “promising life” to sinners who refuse to submit themselves to the righteousness of God in Christ.
There is another kind of false prophet. He may not speak lies; but he is not sent of God. Like Shemaiah, many preach in God’s name whom God has not sent. They are volunteer prophets God has not called. They thrust themselves into the ministry. The ministry is to them a glamorous thing. For some, it yields a sense of power, importance, and honor. For others, it is lucrative. But all who put themselves into the work, not being called of God, do so by carnal motives. They will never be honored of God or used of God.
Oh, that every man about to enter the service of the Sanctuary would pause at the threshold and ask himself, — “Has God the Holy Ghost called me and gifted me for this work? Has God sent me into his Vineyard?” To all false shepherds the Lord God says, “I am against you” (Ezekiel 13:8). Oh, for grace to have a right understanding in this weighty matter!
Sweet assurance is given to God’s elect. The Lord God preserves his own from the vain delusions of false prophets. Indeed, he even uses the heresies they spew forth in his name to separate the elect from the reprobate (1 Corinthians 11:19). — “I will deliver my people out of your hand” (Ezekiel 13:23). Christ’s sheep hear his voice and follow him. A stranger they will not follow. While judgment is pronounced against false prophets, God’s Israel is assured, that the Lord Jehovah will reveal himself to them. — “And they shall know,” he promises, “that I am the Lord their God” (Ezekiel 28:26).
In chapter 14 the Lord God closes the chapter of judgment with the assurance of mercy to God’s chosen (Ezekiel 14:22-23). The redeemed of the Lord will sing their songs of salvation on the sea of glass. They shall shout Jehovah’s praise as they behold the everlasting destruction of God’s enemies and theirs. When our blessed Christ has finally put all enemies under his feet and saved all his ransomed, we shall see and rejoice to declare, “He hath done all things well!”